In-House SEO team vs. SEO agency: which should I go for?

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Reading Time: 31 minutes

Posted on: Wednesday May 15, 2019

Making the choice between hiring an SEO agency or introducing an SEO team within an organization, is a tough one to make. While hiring a professional SEO expert may seem like the end of all problems, and it probably is, this solution is not without its own set of problems. Same goes with outsourcing to specialized SEO services. It may seem like an easy and reliable option, but at times communicating with an outside service often turns out to be a huge pain.

In such a no-win situation, what could be the best course of action for someone who wants his website to actually generate business and leads? The truth is that that there is no one size fits all solution. There are a number of merits and demerits of both, and before making this ultra-vital decision, you need to assess a number of factors and evaluate which option outweighs the other.

Let’s take a look at some of these factors that should receive your assessment:

In-House SEO:

Advantages of In-House SEO:

Dedicated focus: Optimizing websites and pages is a behemoth task that requires focused attention on a number of diverse aspects that come under its umbrella, such as Keyword Research, Technical SEO, SEO Auditing, etc. Therefore, when a separate SEO department is created, either by hiring new employees or dedicating a number of existing employees to a singular SEO task, the end result is that your SEO needs will be better fulfilled than before.

Expert SEO execution: You can only hope to gain from hiring and keeping SEO experts under your eye, since people with no formal understanding or training or practice in SEO cannot understand the intricate details of this vastly dynamic and unpredictable game.

Confidential and controlled: When you have an in-house SEO team, you have the option of keeping tabs and having a say on the strategy and marketing campaigns, unlike in the case of SEO agency, where you get to know only the results, and have no control over the strategies.

Hassle-free communication: Maintaining communications with a remote third party agency almost always ends up in delays and difficulties and miscommunication. But with an in-house SEO team, you can have better and faster communication and avoid delays.

Disadvantages of In-House SEO:

Expensive: The biggest disadvantage of an in-house SEO team is the cost. To maintain a team, you will need to pay full salaries and benefits, which can potentially increase your costs by at least a third.

Training provision: No matter the level of expertise the hired SEO professionals come with, at some point of time, they will need on the job training, thereby increasing the cost and money for you.

Being updated with the latest trends: It is often noted that a small group of employees dedicated to a single work, working within a larger group of employees with a different work, often lose track of their own work. They often lose that focus required to be up to date with the latest information or trends in their own line of work. This goes especially against something like SEO, which constantly requires keeping up to date with the latest in the industry.

SEO Agencies:

Advantages of SEO agencies:

Wider Exposure: SEO agencies deal with a variety of companies across different sectors and industries. They have a good understanding of a wide range of dynamic and flexible as well as industry specific SEO tools and practices, which is relatively better than employees working for the same company.

Up to date Knowledge: As discussed above, it has been seen that professionals working in a separate department within a larger organization of people working in different departments, the often lose track of their own work. But in an SEO company, a good bulk of the employees has more or less the same job, and thus, their knowledge keeps expanding due to continuous contact with their peers.

Freedom to hire: Since SEO agencies are hired on contract basis, you have the liberty to switch your SEO service, in case you are unsatisfied with the results. That option is no more if you hire an in-house SEO team.

Disadvantages of SEO agencies:

Communications Fail: the biggest problem with hiring an SEO team is the bumps in communication. Communications over Email and phone are often ineffective as compared to face to face understanding. That problem multiplies if the SEO agency is based overseas.

Complications also arise when security or legal issues rise up, however it happens rarely.

The Takeaway:

It is clear from the above points that both choices come with their own set of pros and cons, and that too may differ for different people. For some, some disadvantages of hiring an SEO agency, such as communications fail, may be dismissible enough, yet for some others, they may be too big a risk. Thus the saying above: ‘no one-size-fits-all’.

However there are some conclusions that can definitely be drawn here.

On the basis of the above points and our own expertise, we can surmise that hiring an SEO agency is the best option for startups and small and medium sized businesses. Businesses with a limited budget should go for SEO agency. An in-house SEO team really fits the budget and expectations of a large company.

That is not to say that this is a hard and fast rule. There can absolutely be exceptions. Of course, this article should not make the end decision for anyone. A comprehensive analysis of your own company’s needs has to be done, no matter what

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